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[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The moment of hesitation and silence leant itself to a belief he had tried to change topics far too quickly. Given how things had progressed the last few days and the varying highs and lows he had put everyone through, it was understandable that she may have wanted to relax, to smile, to let her mind wander. Unfortunately, given how Dante was still reintegrating his persona, the social benefits of keeping to a more playful topic were easily superseded by their upcoming mission. She moved the conversation on and reiterated the initial plan to him, affirming details that had been hazy. Her question elicited a slight smile from him though.
[+royalblue “Before the wormhole, I would have been inclined to take a different approach in answering such a question.”] She had not known about what he truly was inside back then. Yet she had not been concerned about his safety then, despite his cold blooded nature, so he was curious to see her worry now she knew his mechanical nature.[+royalblue “My neural network is quite susceptible to high temperatures, as are my various drives and memory systems. Anything above seventy degrees celsius would be enough to damage them, though above seventy-four celsius will cause irreparable loss of function to my programming matrix.”]
Such technical jargon rolled off his tongue as easy as a child recited their favourite tv show. Dante was quick however to catch this, offering an addendum;[+royalblue “that is to say, over eight three and I will not be salvageable.”] It was quite blunt, and describing himself as a machine that was unfixable was crass, but he believed she would be appreciative of the direct manner he spoke. Not wanting to worry her unnecessarily he continued on a final time.[+royalblue “I have made some general calculations of your planet’s surface temperature and in my estimation I should be able to mitigate the heat effectively. Between my silicon outer coating and internal coolant with an additional injection of liquid helium before we leave I project my core temperature will not pass sixty-eight degrees.”]
The margins were very fine but looking down on her with those rich golden eyes he showed no concern or fear or trepidation. Perhaps he was just incapable. But he offered a reassuring smile as he tightened his hand at her hip and the other circled the small of her back above her tail. Small gestures, but quite deliberate in nature.
[+lightcoral “Well, I am certain it was through no fault of my own that you started to hold such a notion.”] Rhea spoke in a humorously matter of fact sort of way. Truth be told, she could think of more than one occasion that might have led him to believe she was not exactly a mature individual. Though in those times it was not as if he was exactly acting much differently. Now might lend itself to being one of those moments, however it did not last as he drew away from their playful banter and onto things that that held more weight. It was probably for the best.
There was a moment of silence as Rhea took some time to think over what had happened and how it might affect the plan ahead. [+lightcoral “It would likely be unwise to return through the wormhole.”] That was fairly obvious. She was still feeling the boggy affects of the last trip though, or it might have been from the deprivation of/excessive sleep and stress of the last few day… but without more information it was best that they aired on the side of caution. Well, if she wanted to make it to Pyreen in her current life, that was. [+lightcoral “So long as that keeps us on track for making it back on time for the holiday then everything should run just about the same. We send your associate, possibly along with Kashia, into the city to obtain the data. Once they return and we have an idea of where we need to go, we move to a secondary position on planet closer to that point. There are plenty of crystal plains, so we should be able to land on one of those without worrying about the sand causing issues.“] Pyreen was a relatively small body, so she did not think it would be too difficult to get them there, even if there was only one official port.
However, with things being what they were, there was one thing that might cause issue considering part of the journey would likely have to be made on foot. [+lightcoral “Um… what sort of temperatures can you withstand?”] It seemed strange to ask but seeing as Dante now had a clear reason for why he preferred cooler environments it begged the question of just how dangerous heat could be to him. She already knew he didn’t do too well with electrical surges. [+lightcoral “Pyreen is a desert and on that particular day both stars are going to be against the far side of the planet where the alternative tunnel entrances are. The surface will be hot, even by my standards, are you going to be able to handle that?”] Rhea found herself concerned for his safety in an odd new way. Sure, there were going to be armed guards inside; She knew he could deal with that, but it wasn’t like he could just fight a star and expect it to cool down. This was a different beast entirely.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante had gone quiet when she mentioned her father. It was a combination of two factors really; he did not have a father, not in the literal sense. It could be argued that his creators were his parents, but they were merely constructs themselves. It was machines building machines. And it was many machines that made him. His ‘birth’, as it were, was simply a software sequence starting up. The other point was he had not considered just whom Rhea was, her past, her previous ‘lives’ or who her family was, what they did and what consequences that may bring up.
Thinking over possibilities as fast as his processing unit could go he had ran through several thousand by the time things came to a very abrupt halt on feeling her warm lips press back firmly to his own. In a way it was the best means of distracting his more analytical and curious mind, the part of him that thrived on problem solving and breaking down mysteries. For as brief as the kiss was he looked on her with an all too innocent gaze as if he were a child who had been given just a lick of ice cream and not the whole cone.
[+royalblue “I had thought you would wish for more of that spicy sauce you seem to crave.”] In truth he thought she may wish for the return and immortalisation of her first love, but etiquette dictated he not broach that topic ever again.[+royalblue “But perhaps I am thinking you are simply just more childish than you really are. I wonder what could lead to me having such an opinion of you?”] The teasing nature in his tone answered that question, still holding those curving yet slender hips as he watched her.
[+royalblue “Stepping away from playful fantasies, does anything from the past several days alter our plan for Pyreen? I will have to draw Jax and Tera back around, likely offer them a substantial payment for helping, but with the twins situation and my.. surprise revelation, is there need to change what we discussed?”] Whilst he could play out a host of different scenarios with many levels of probability and feasibility, Rhea knew the planet and the Termani stationed there far better than he did. This was all for her too so why should he dictate to her how this would go down? He loosened his hold of her a little as he pondered that.
Rhea thought over his guesses about what she would wish for. [+lightcoral “I don’t want to destroy them… “] Punishing the masses for the decisions their leaders made was hardly on her agenda. [+lightcoral “I just want them off our planet and out of our affairs.”] It was unlikely the average Terman knew anything about what happened all those years ago anyway. After working with their government as long as she did, it was clear they fed their own people just as many self-important lies as they did others. [+lightcoral “Besides, even if there were some way to go back, I don’t think we would be able to stop it. I am fairly confident about who oversaw the takeover, and while you may have given him a run for his money, I don’t think we would have stood a chance against my father in his prime.”] At least, not while he had the military backing him.
His relief at her inclination against blatant aggression was a touch funny to the woman. She smiled softly, only to have the expression fall when he went on to speak of himself. [+lightcoral “I do not think that is true. Violence is not all you have accomplished.”] Her main thoughts were of Oni an Ino, but perhaps it was too early to mention them, so she left it at that she did not believe he hadn’t learned to do anything but hurt others in all his time in this world. But beyond that he seemed to have some notion that she was somehow blameless in comparison. Rhea definitely had a thing or two to say about that, but before she could, he kissed her and completely threw her off her train of thought. Maybe he had discovered that to be a relatively safe way to shut her up when she did not need to make comment.
However, the daze quickly fell away as the teasing began. Huffing, Rhea’s face displayed her feelings readily in a disgruntled pout. [+lightcoral “Well excuse me for being a bore. I was unaware I was being judged on entertainment factor.”] Her words held merely a hyperbole of anger, though she did turn her face from his in a childish display of rejection. [+lightcoral “If you absolutely must have something impossible, then I hope it is some form of ancient djinn that can grant wishes. Then we can just wish that everyone knew the truth instead of having to go through all the trouble of convincing them.”] Looking over at him through the gap between her glasses and face, Rhea’s composure cracked and she smiled. After that she just gave up and faced him again, leaning forward and stealing her own kiss. [+lightcoral “Is that more acceptable, oh great seeker of fun?”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat That was not what he expected to hear from the small figured woman, holding her a little tighter though his hands now ran along her spine pulling her closer into his lap. It was all on some semi-automated process now as his thoughts were elsewhere. Even synthetic beings could complete tasks whilst distracted. They were walking computers but right now the loading wheels were spinning before his eyes.[+royalblue “Hm.. interesting..”] His response was muted and hushed as he slipped to her hips and his fingers sunk in just a little on finding a more full part to her figure. Thankfully they did not move further down. Perhaps it was his comment, or what his hands were doing, but he found she was looking up at him now with a look of wonder.
Feeling inclined to expand on his choice of words he smiled faintly looking down on her.[+royalblue “Well, I had theorised you may wish the crystal to be a weapon of some sort to destroy the Termani. Or perhaps a means of going back in time to stop them from taking over Pyreen, perhaps get rid of the first Termani to find the planet.”] He should have guessed that the ever lawful and good Rhea would want things done with damage limitation, even to the race that had all but enslaved her own. She was much too pure of heart to wish for that.
[+royalblue “I’m glad that you are not a warmonger however.”] Whilst Empress Rhea had a rather alluring sound to it, seeing this small and beautiful woman as a conqueror would be as illogical as Jax being a professor in a university.[+royalblue “Given who I am, I need someone with a good heart to teach me what that means. From inception I have only known or been shown ways of hurting or killing. I made a living out of it and whilst successful, it does not exactly endear me or make me more than a machine.”] If he was to grow and move away from his synth past, he had to make such drastic changes in personality that he could function. It may come back to haunt him somehow but it needed to be tried at least.[+royalblue “I need a pure soul like you to guide me. Someone who has so far refused to do anything negative toward me save to tell me the truth of how badly I have behaved. And who even now is willing to give me her trust despite all my wrongs.”] Lost into those vivid eyes his golden eyes closed for the briefest of moments as he dipped his head to steal a swift kiss, smiling as he pulled away just a little and sighed happily.[+royalblue “But truly dear your answer was very dull. It can do literally anything you want and you couldn’t think of a single thing you want!”]
Questioning of her hopes had not been what Rhea expected as she was practically melting into the man holding her. Her voice was quiet as she responded, half her focus was on enjoying him rubbing her back. [+lightcoral “Well, my hopes for answers are more pointed at the Termani than the crystal itself…”] She did take some time to stop and think about his actual question though. It was a medium pause, neither incredibly long nor brief. [+lightcoral “Honestly, I don’t care what it does.”] The woman was not being flippant when she said that, she just really did not have any big dreams for it. [+lightcoral “You have to understand, I only recently even started to think this Crystal was real. I spent years debunking its existence and then dropped the topic of being more than an invisible deity.”] This admittance did not mean she was completely apathetic to it though, she desperately wanted to know about the Crystal, it was just that she had not allowed herself to really think about what she wanted it to be when they found it. [+lightcoral “After recent events, I am inclined to believe that it is connected to, and connects, us in some way. So, I suppose it would be neat if that suspicion was confirmed and we could find some way to stop my people from randomly collapsing… but whether it is some kind of magical transmitter or just a hunk of valuable material won’t matter as long as whatever it is, is enough to be considered a plausible motive for the Termani to have invaded us.”]
That was the missing piece to everything she was currently working on, and it left a huge hole in her accusations against them. [+lightcoral “It feels like I have exhausted every other avenue and there is nothing else it could be. Iron is a bountiful resource, so our deposits aren’t exceedingly valuable, we aren’t a particularly strategic location in the quadrant,”] Well, the planets location was so-so, but there were places nearby that would have suited the Termani’s needs much better at the time of take over. Now they had built everything they needed around that point and it was going to take something big to get them to leave. [+lightcoral “And there were only ten thousand of us. Sovereignty over so few is simply not worth the risks they ran... So, if the Crystal turns out to be un-noteworthy it is basically over....”] And that was all assuming it was even the Mother Crystal that they were hiding down in those tunnels.There was still a chance they were using those channels for something else, but for now Rhea was stubbornly holding onto her belief that it was their Crystal.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Slender teal fingers continued to glide along warm roseate skin, teasing her without knowing and finding small knots and tense muscles with great ease. Somehow it had turned into some quasi-massage as he considered her response to his theory. It was an absent minded gesture that kept hands busy as golden eyes stared off at the far wall, gaze quite blank and bare. It was hard to continue with his train of thought of she had nothing additional to give him. She helped shine a light on her survival against the girls, and for that he was somewhat glad to know that there was a little closure.
Instead he seized upon her last point, turning his attention down to her emotive eyes and as ever focusing in on those large bright eyes that stared back at him. She could convey so much with a look and he had tried to match the intensity several times in the past – it had never brought any results but he would endeavour to keep learning to be more in touch with the nuances that living beings had. His life was all about continued learning, and so that is where he turned the conversation.[+royalblue “What do you hope it will do?”] A purely curious question though a good one he felt. Not too personal but also relevant.[+royalblue “I mean to say, that this crystal will give you answers regardless of whether it is more spiritual in its meaning or if it has a genuine use and so on.”] Like many religious relics it may hold more sentimental value than any usefulness.[+royalblue “But say it had a design and could do something, however little or large as wanted, and if you could dictate what it was that it did, what would you want it to do?”] He showed his curiosity in the way his head turned that fraction to the side like a dog, hair falling away from his face a little as fingers worked away without effort.
Rhea perked up at having his cool skin come into contact with hers. She had felt his hand moving, but she did not expect him to snake his way beneath her shirt. Even now, in the wake of everything that had happened and in the midst of a somewhat serious conversation, he was a devil, and an irresistible one at that. Surely it did not help that she was already incredibly sexually frustrated. It had been dry between them since the villa, and having to see him strut by on the regular day to day was bad enough, as he was practically a peacock, but this was borderline torture. As she looked up at him, he might have been able to see it in her eyes, but for the time being there was still some restraint left in her as she listened to his rather interesting theory.
[+lightcoral “Considering what I know and how we are supposed to be connected, it is not entirely farfetched that something like this might be the case…”] It was not something Rhea had ever thought about this way, that they might be akin to receivers. [+lightcoral “Though I am not sure how something like that would work for organic life.”] Robots, Synths, androids, they all might have some sort of limitation of that kind, but it did not quite make sense that Pyrenians would, at least not to her. [+lightcoral “And you are right, there are inconsistencies that cannot be overlooked.”] It was frustrating to have to speculate to such a degree. There was nearly no actual data to go off of for this. [+lightcoral “However, the girls’ age might account for what happened this last time… growing bodies are not meant to handle such high levels of stress.”] And she thought it was fair to say that dying was an objectively stressful process, let alone doing it twice in such a short span of time. It could take longer for Pyrenians to reform than they were given to recover from the first incident at the villa.
Sighing, it was a difficult topic to think about, for numerous reasons. [+lightcoral “I just hope that when we find this thing I also find the answers I need.”] Her worst nightmare would be that they found the Crystal and discovered that was all it was. A random hunk of rock that was only special because they decided it was. Thoughts like that made it hard to hope.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Listening to Rhea as she retold him things that he vaguely remembered his cool cerulean hand ran along from her side and under the cloak, snaking its way up her back until the warmth of her bare rose skin danced along his finger tips and he began to idly caress her. It was wonderful to have her warm figure close to him as she spoke, listening intently though he would be wrong to say all of his attention was focused upon her words. Even for a synth he was easily distracted.
What she did say enlightened him, though his thoughts were more theory than evidence.[+royalblue “I see.”] He mumbled merely to inform her he had heard though his voice was a little distant as he thought over his theorem. Resting his chin atop her head he tightened his hold of her a fraction though his hands continued to seek her warmth. When he felt a little more confident in it – or rather he had compiled it into a more solid idea – he drew a breath and lifted his head.[+royalblue “I was thinking if there was a connection between either that crystal, or a crystalline formation on your planet, and you and the girls passing when we went into the wormhole.”] It was a touchy subject to discuss someone’s demise with them, but then he knew a little of what the ‘feeling’ of dying was like.
This slight pause as he decided if it was okay to continue left him free to tilt his head and kiss the top of her white mop of hair. It helped him, somehow, he wasn’t sure how, and he went on.[+royalblue “I mean when we entered, that is when the episode happened. The inside of a wormhole sits outside the universe and therefore anything inside of it doesn’t really exist in time or space. Maybe there is a link between your crystals and one on Pyreen, like a wireless device losing connection – it shuts down.”] A simple analogy that did well to sum up what he meant. It was an optimistic thought though it was to be shot down by Dante in his very next words.[+royalblue “However it doesn’t explain the villa, or why you all came back from that and the girls did not from this.”] He sighed gently.[+royalblue “Puts a large hole in that idea.”]
Whatever discretion Dante had at hiding his unnatural strength seemed to be gone as he effortlessly lifted her up to him. Not that he had ever really pretended that she was any burden to carry, but it was still going to take some getting used to. Even still, she did not focused on it at that moment. Rhea just went ahead and snuggled into his chest as he pulled her in. It was not long after that that he started asked questions, they were oddly timed, but she did not mind talking about it. The mother crystal was rather pertinent to what she was trying to uncover.
[+lightcoral “Yes, I did.”] The woman remembered bringing it up as a means to convince him that it was vital that they return to her home planet, however she did not recall just how much detail she had given. Even if he mentioned being able to call on the information later, she still felt the need to explain. [+lightcoral “It is a reoccurring symbol in a lot of what I have read. From what I could make out it was an intrinsic part of our culture; I would go so far to say it was almost regarded as a deity. Writings implied that it connected us as a people, but until recently I assumed that was meant to be taken metaphorically.”] Now that she was running out of options for why the Termani were so adamant to keep control of her planet, Rhea had to consider other possibilities. [+lightcoral “There are so many crystal formations on Pyreen that I’ve always wondered what set this particular one apart, but all my research was fruitless. The most I ever found was the crystal chamber, empty of course, but it was beautiful.”] Another piece of this mystery that made her think it was a religion of sorts. People often paid the closest attention to detail and architecture in places of worship, and that room blew everything else on the planet out of the water.
[+lightcoral “For the longest time I was convinced that it never really existed and was more of a concept than a physical entity.”] Her words were hushed down to a whisper, quiet in a way that made them seem far off in the distance, like she was barely there. [+lightcoral “But I’ve come to a dead end, and all that comes to mind is this. I don’t know why… It just has to be real… and I am going to find out why it has been hidden.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante smiled as she looked up at him and those few words she spoke invoked a feeling of bliss within him. It was wonderful to have such a woman with him and his hands did not seek to push her away so that he could do other work. Things could wait a little longer. For now he wanted her with him and to just enjoy their time together, so much so that he removed one hand to lift her delicate chin that little bit more and kiss her cheek. If he had gone for her lips then certain things may have occurred. Still, when his hands did return to her hips he lifted her up. It was a touch uncomfortable to just stand with her there, so he lifted her up until he could sit on the table and she sat in his lap. It felt much better and his fingers slid once more around her.
Before he had moved her, he noted there was a simplicity in the way she looked at him. That was not a negative though. It was more than she was so easily able to take in information that others would not be able to fathom. Had he not just told her he killed over thirty million beings? Was she not the least bit worried to have such a monstrous machine so close? To be in love with someone capable of killing so many without it resting on any form of a conscience?
It was relieving in one way and yet in another it was daunting. Perhaps she remembered how affected he was by the twins deaths, their original ones, at his hand and after taking them out of servitude. He wasn’t a complete monster at least. He had certainly learned over time to care and appreciate life, something he had placed little worth in at the beginning.
[+royalblue “I’m curious.. did you once mention something about a large crystal, some kind of a mother crystal, that the Pyreen people had a connection to at one time?”] It was a little out of the blue but they had been sat in a little bit of silence and his mind wandered.[+royalblue “I recall something about a larger crystal, but I think the surcharge and shutdown has affected my ability to effectively recall data from my memory banks. I should be able to mend the connection in standby later tonight.”] It sounded oh so technical and computer based, but really it was similar to a living being – just with a lot more computer terminology thrown in.
She had not expected him to find her words to be so moving, but Rhea gladly came in closer to him when he placed his hands on her face. His cool kiss brought a smile to her lips that lingered as he pulled her the rest of the way in. There was no more comfortable place to be for her and she would have been content to just let him squeeze her like that, but he had more to say. Her head bounced slightly with his brief laugh, but that only helped her as she turned her face up to look at him. Her gaze was unable to convey all the love she was feeling, but a portion of it was there as she brought her arms around him. [+lightcoral “I would love nothing more…”] If he wanted her there to fill in those places he felt like he was lacking, then she would do it gladly. [+lightcoral “There is no place I would rather be than wherever you are.”] The woman held tight to his lithe figure. He had mentioned it being time to ready the ship, but she did not want to separate yet. Not that her strength would do much to stop him when he really decided it was time to go.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The kind voice, the soft smile, the return of pressure on his hand, were all gratefully received by the cerulean man. He had lost his train of thought and the despair and negativity of the current predicament had made him forgetful of their greater goal and why this was all so important. It was like she could tell how he felt without truly saying it and he had to look away for a moment as he felt part of his persona chip go into overdrive from looking into those big red eyes.
Letting out a half laugh he shook his head, smiling lightly as he looked back to her with a gentle shimmer to his golden eyes.[+royalblue “That is what makes living beings so beautiful and wondrous, they never know when to give in. You magnificent creatures would take a near statistical impossibility and run with it. You always find that light at the end of the tunnel.”] His free hand lifted off the table and cupped her warm cheek lightly, smiling down at her before pulling her closer and kissing her forehead. Hands leaving her for a moment he pulled her tightly in against his chest.
[+royalblue “I may be four centuries old but I doubt I’ll ever come to understand that wild carefree nature.”] He brushed his hand down along her back, wanting her that little bit closer though it never truly felt enough.[+royalblue “So you need to stay near to me, and by my probability breaker, my statistical denier, my..”] His chest fluctuated with a short sharp laugh, cut off abruptly.[+royalblue “Be my Rhea.”]
His fingers curled all the tighter around hers as she took in the uncertainty in his voice. There was a lot to be hesitant about with how clouded with doubt the future was for them. Rhea was not usually particularly optimistic about this sort of thing, but she also knew that a downpour of pessimism was not going to help them in the least. Especially with Dante in the unstable state he was. So instead of letting the shroud of mystery win, she took a moment to think about it. It was not long, but enough to remember the course ahead. [+lightcoral “Then…”] She returned his tightened hold but looked up at him with a gentle smile. [+lightcoral “We take whatever evidence we find, and we present it to the standing board on Albenstine. Once they look over it and hopefully come to the same conclusion I have, then we will have the backing to move this to federal court and law enforcement.”] Everyone knew that the Termani ran a shady ship, they just happened to be outstanding at covering their tracks and finding loopholes. This mess on Pyreen might have been their first undeniable slip up. Who would have been able to predict that a random race of crystal studded beings would have the ability to regenerate? And that threw a wrench in their initial genocide plan. [+lightcoral “The Termani will lose sovereignty over Pyreen and when that happens their claims of my treason will mean nothing.”] Her bounty would be gone with that, a foreign body could not commit treason to a government it did not belong to, especially when the claim was bullshit to begin with. [+lightcoral “Then we as a people can start on our track to recovery…”] A novel idea, since most Pyrenians had given up on the idea of reclaiming their planet, many opting to leave entirely. [+lightcoral “And I can finally move on.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Whilst Dante did not feel anywhere near as optimistic as Rhea, he did not want to say as much out loud. Tera would not forgive him, and likely Jax would begin to slowly turn away from him as the anthro woman remained cold to him. The best he could really hope for was for the duo to remain with them for the duration of this journey and to see through Rhea's quest as far as they could. But after that, he held no real hope they would stay. Much like he expected with Kashia they would take their payments and leave.
There lay another issue. The Pyrenian's niece would warn her against becoming close to him again. He had caused so much havoc in such a short space of time, and if his own crew could not trust him, how could she? This spiral of negative emotion was kept in however and he nodded with Rheas words even if he disagreed wholeheartedly. Nothing was looking up.
[+royalblue “I should probably go and prepare the ship. No matter what she decides, we need to go to Pyreen, get this done with and then..”] His voice trailed off as he honestly had no answer for it. What did come next? Would they all be here to dictate what happened? It was not a task that would be completed as easily as they thought and he sat for a moment to consider the more negative, more extreme outcomes. His hand subconsciously tightened on Rhea's and he looked down to their coupled hands in silence.
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